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News & Current Events Discuss Prominent Journalist And Duterte Critic Maria Ressa Arrested In Philippines at the General Forum; Award-winning journalist Maria Ressa was arrested on Wednesday at the headquarters of Rappler, the news outlet she runs in the ...

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Old 02-13-2019, 04:22 PM
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Default Prominent Journalist And Duterte Critic Maria Ressa Arrested In Philippines

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Award-winning journalist Maria Ressa was arrested on Wednesday at the headquarters of Rappler, the news outlet she runs in the Philippines, the latest in a deluge of legal attacks on the journalist by President Rodrigo Duterte's government.

Ressa, 55, is a former CNN bureau chief. She was among four journalists, including the murdered Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi, named by Time magazine as Person of the Year for 2018. Since starting Rappler in 2012, Ressa has not been afraid to cast criticism on the government as a result of the news website's investigations into impunity and corruption.


Plainclothes officers from the National Bureau of Investigation, an agency within the Department of Justice, arrived at Rappler's offices in Manila around 5 p.m. local time. As law enforcement served the warrant, staff were told to stop taking photos and videos. "We'll go after you too," an officer told reporters, according to Rappler.

Ressa was charged with cyber libel by the Philippine's Department of Justice.

"These legal acrobatics show how far the government will go to silence journalists, including the pettiness of forcing me to spend the night in jail," Ressa said in a statement.

The charge traces back to a story published in May 2012, months before the country's cyber crime prevention law was approved in September.

Years after the article came out, a businessman named Wilfredo Keng complained that the report linked him to human trafficking and drug smuggling. He said that because Rappler updated its article in 2014, it fell into the purview of the law.





On Wednesday, presiding Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa denied bail to Ressa.

Ressa's arrest does not indicate suppression of the press, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told local media. It "has nothing to do with freedom of expression or freedom of the press," he said, adding, "I think I'd rather advise Maria Ressa just focus on her defense."

Since Ressa launched Rappler with other high profile journalists about seven years ago, it has become known for its thorough investigations on the extrajudicial killings in Duterte's war on drugs.

Amid a crackdown on media, the president has repeatedly targeted Rappler, accusing the outlet of producing "fake news."...MORE
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